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1/18 custom fantasy Autodynamics Nascar Plymouth Superbird


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This is a fantasy build, and a fantasy story.


Ray Caldwell’s Autodynamics (reportedly) built three factory backed Dodge Challenger T/As for the 1970 SCCA Trans Am series.



The series was at its heyday and landing this contract was a boon to Autodynamics. This was all-out factory war between Detroit's big 4.

In 1971, Detroit suddenly withdrew their open support of motor racing.

The political atmosphere had changed and the horsepower race that bred the 60’s muscle and pony cars was suddenly over.

Dodge canceled Autodynamics’ Trans Am contract.

Autodynamics had expected to run the Dodge Challenger factory Trans-Am Team for at least two more years but Caldwell had seen the handwriting on the wall with respect to Detroit-based auto racing.

It was clear that, if there were to be factory money available, the Nascar Winston Cup Series was where you needed to be.

Even with their existing association with Dodge, there were no more Dodge Daytona’s being constructed, and the existing ones were prohibitively expensive.

Secretly, Caldwell secured a spare 1970 Nascar Plymouth Superbird from Petty Enterprises.

The “spare” had only been raced once, by Dan Gurney, at the 1970 Riverside 500. Gurney took the pole for the race, and finished 6th.


Fully paid for by Plymouth, the car sat in the Petty garages. Plymouth never asked for it back.

The resources (especially time) required to build a Daytona from scratch would seriously hamper a full Nascar program.

Caldwell planned on placing Sam Posey in the Superbird for the 1971 season-opening race at Riverside on January 10.

With the Petty chassis, all Autodynamics had to do was repaint the car in their classic Sublime Green used on the Trans Am Challengers, and they easily would be ready.


As Chrysler downsized their racing support, Caldwell picked up a used ramp-back hauler, similar to those used by the factory Nascar teams.

Circumstances wouldn’t allow the truck to be painted to match the Superbird.


Politics caught Ray Caldwell out again as Nascar implemented rules for the 1971 season that would place a severe weight penalty on the Mopar “aero cars” if they ran the 426 cubic inch Hemi.

Even with an inventory of a dozen Keith Black Trans Am 305 cubic inch engines, their questionable reliability was sufficient to scuttle the planned Nascar program.

The car never saw the light of day.

Until now.

This is my fantasy version of what an Autodynamics Nascar Plymouth Superbird could have looked like.

This is a repaint of the Ertl/American Muscle ToysRUs Superbird model, with nose and tail from another Ertl/American Muscle Subline Green Superbird.


The decals are a mixture of an old Pattos Place Challenger set, with some Plymouth’s and some Nascar contingency decals from my spares inventory.


Here are some photos from the build.

I originally thought about swapping the body from the factory green one to the chassis of the race version, but the more I looked (and worked) at it, the less convinced I was that was a good idea.

Even though they appear to be based on the same basic molds, there was enough of a difference to make me change course.



So I harvested the nose and rear wing off the green one, and grafted them onto the race body.  Sold the green one on eBay as a "barn find".


I then had my stripper take the paint off the race version, primed it, and painted it with OEM Sublime Green, with two layers of clear.

51379749646_35004580d7_b.jpgIMG_3758 by Jim Forte, on Flickr

51379748296_68340d65fe_b.jpgIMG_3842 by Jim Forte, on Flickr

Then added the decals.








Edited by ibj40
Added build pictures with primer.
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20 hours ago, Vietnam Vet67 said:

The neat thing is the debate about whether there were two (#76 for Posey and #77 for guest drivers Ronnie Bucknam and Tony AtoZ), or three!

1970 Trans Am Dodge Challenger # 77 - Page 2 (theroaringseason.com)

Autodynamics (race car manufacturer) - Wikipedia



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6 hours ago, slusher said:

Great looking models.


1 hour ago, Classicgas said:

Nicely done jim.

Thanks, took me a while.  I don't paint too many by myself, or decal to that point.

Had to take the Ram by the horns on this one.

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